Friday, January 25, 2013

The third leg.

My latest idea on breaking the cycle of poverty is starting to get some play at TNReports.com

One of the top tickets to break the chain of poverty is education. To achieve a quality education is like a three legged stool. The state has put a lot of responsibility on schools and teachers to improve student performance. If the children don't produce, it could impact the pay of the teacher and the standing of the school with the state. We have pushed two of the three legs of the student performance (teachers and schools) to improve, and they are.

While those two legs are important, one other leg has proven to be more important. The third leg has shown to have a greater impact on the children performance than  the school, than the teacher, than race of the child, than the income of the parent, than the location of the student.

The third leg of the stool (probably the most important leg) is the parents. We have done little to hold them accountable for their child's performance. What my bill would do is put some responsibility on parents for their child's performance.

If your child is failing their classes, if your child is not showing up to school, if your child has quit school. That is unacceptable. It is highly unlikely that child will ever escape poverty. The state can not continue to support the generational cycle of poverty. Just because parents may have quit school does not mean it is acceptable if their child does. Parents are responsible to make sure their kids are ready for school and that they get an education. If parents are not holding up their leg of the job (and your kids are not special needs) then the state is going to start holding back a portion of that parents government benefits.


The goal is not to punish anyone. No one will necessarily or instantly lose benefits because of this bills passage. The goal is to encourage parents to do what they should already be doing. We have to start breaking the cycle of generational poverty. I, nor anyone can assure a perfect 100% solution where everyone gets everything and no one loses benefits. but if we can pull 99% out of the cycle of poverty I will take that step.

FLASH: TANF is NOT food stamps.

Update number 2: this is already working wonders in over 40 countries.

123 comments:

  1. Is it true that you are pushing to end food assistance to those families who have children who are failing school? That's what's being reported.

    Just trying to get the facts...

    Tom Cogburn

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  2. No, the bill will not remove benefits from anyone as long as their kids don't quit school, skip a ton or just start failing most of their classes.

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    1. Um. I'm pretty sure that's what Tom Cogburn was asking you.

      Deron Fetz
      Columbus, OH

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    2. This makes completely no sense at all and is completely backwards legislation. You are covertly punishing the child by rationalizing it as taking a benefit away from a parent who isn't taking enough responsibility for their child. If a parent doesn't really care that their child is doing poorly in school they probably aren't going to care all that much if the school is providing them breakfast or not anyway. I would suggest you learn how people work before you try controlling their behavior through legislation.

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    3. SO the answer is yes? But only if they are failing 'most' of their classes?

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    4. What does "skip a ton" mean? Is it difficult to be more specific? Does this law imply that already existing truancy laws aren't enough?

      If so, shouldn't we fix those laws so that we cover all students, rather than just those on TANF?

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  3. What about families with children failing in school who are not receiving any kind of benefits?

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    1. Excellent question. Public school is funded with tax dollars, just as public assistance. So it would follow that the Senator has left out a way to save the state even more money by having to pay for those children to go to school and of course since their kids are not in school the whole family can starve to death. Then Tennessee can be a bastion for white Teabaggers, like the Senator.

      Or the good Senator can realize that it is education that will end the cycle of poverty he so "wishes" cease from happening *rolls eyes*

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  4. Seems that there are just too many variables as to why a child might be failing in school to punish the parents and create further burden on what is most likely an already troubled home. Want to handle that third leg of the stool? How about raising minimum wage so parents don't have to work a second job and will have more time for their children? Low cost, high-quality daycare would help, too. Why so focused on sticks and not carrots?

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    1. The carrot is the benefit they are already getting.

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    2. Here's the thing - its not actually a carrot, its a minimally necessary requirement for learning. If kids don't eat, they don't learn, and the cycle of poverty is strengthened. If you're serious about fighting poverty, try to work on giving folks in your district the ability to earn a living wage or to have a say in their community. These things go a lot further to making people feel connected and committed to achieving goals than trying to take away the basic necessities of life that their situation is already denying them.

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    3. But how are you taking the benefit that they already getting away from them? With a stick? You're using a stick, aren't you? Is the stick shaped like a carrot?

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    4. In the end, I bet there are as many "starving, beaten children left shivering in the street" from my bill as there are "children arrested for holding hands" that we were supposed to get from changing the sex education standards last year.

      My bill will be revenue neutral. Any money taken from one parent will only be given to another deserving parent who is not getting it now.

      Delete
  5. wait, what? You answered "no" to the above question, yet you respond with "as long as their kids don't quit school, skip a ton or just start failing most of their classes."

    So why didn't you just answer "yes" to the question? Because that's exactly what you're doing...cutting assistance for failing grades. Was that some kind of trick response? lol

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  6. I don't think I'm seeing the "not punishing" part of this. I'm trying! I read it twice, but it still sounds pretty punishing to take benefits away from a child because of what the parents are deemed to be doing or not doing. And is there research to show that these kids are "highly unlikely to ever escape poverty?" And if there is research that shows that, how are we going to "break the cycle of generational poverty" by keeping them impoverished? Doesn't that start by giving everyone equal footing, even if that means assistance for some? And what's the difference if the child has special needs or not since we're talking about poverty and lack of parental support? Failing is failing and not showing up is not showing up whether the kid has special needs or not, right?

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  7. So if their child quits schools, is missing school, and/or has a hard time in school, their food assistance will be cut?

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  8. What about families with children failing in school who are not receiving any kind of benefits? (sorry if this posts twice, PC is acting up today)

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  9. You just answered "no" at the start of your answer, but in the body you answered yes. Which is it?
    "The bill will not remove benefits unless it does" seems to be your answer.

    Thanks,
    Dean Bratcher

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  10. The parent receives the benefit. Not the child. Is it a 100% fix? Probably not. But if we can pull the 99% up or at least give them a better shot I am willing to try.

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    1. The parent receives the FUNDS. The BENEFIT is the food that the child eats

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    2. You really think you'll get 99% jump on board?! We have parents who qualify for free or reduced lunch and won't drag their lazy behinds in to sign a form that would allow ther child to eat breakfast and lunch daily... I see this over and over and over!!! Yes I would agree that parents need to be held responsible more for things but NOT at the cost of anything that could possibly cause MORE harm for those same children already struggling! Perhaps your heart is in the right place but this is just bass-ackwards, sorry!

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    3. A better shot? How in the world do you figure you are giving them a shot by punishing them for their lack academic achievement?
      Why don't you just call this the "hey dummy, you deserve to survive" bill?

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    4. How does this help anyone? At best they are still in the same situation as before this bill. A student who doesn't miss 1 day of school, gets straight A's and is never tardy gets nothing more than before this bill so how is this statement the truth? "..if we can pull the 99% up or at least give them a better shot" Seems to me you aren't really trying to help the poor, you just want to punish them if they don't do as you say. Now tell me where I am wrong.

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    5. Ummm... Sir, please talk to a local DCF employee. I can promise you that the benefits are based on the children. I am a school teacher. I am very aware of how important it is to get parents involved. It is completely unacceptable for a child to miss a lot of school for no reason. Exactly who is going to be in charge of figuring out if it is an acceptable reason? Mono for instance can keep a child out of school for weeks. My son missed several weeks of high school due to mono. I also work in one of the most urban schools in my county. The kids I work with don't have cell phones, I Pods, or even internet at home. Several are grateful to get a food backpack on Friday with healthy snacks for the weekend, because there is no other food at home. These are middle school kids who swallow their pride to carry that backpack. I have seen kids crying because they forgot their backpack. To those children the poverty they live in consumes them. They struggle in school. Just because they come to school doesn't mean there is anyone at home to help them. Pick up a 7th grade math book and you would be AMAZED at what they have to learn to achieve a decent grade. SO please take a step back. Go to a school and take a TCAP practice test. Middle school level even. THEN come back and talk to us about this. Right now you need to find a way to teach kids that school is important and that there is a way other than food stamps. Have you invested in any education for low income schools to SHOW students there is a better way to live? That THEY can achieve? It is frustrating as a teacher and a parent to even consider that you would be responsible for such an unacceptable bill. In those 40 countries... is poverty normal? What countries are you referring to? I am trying to keep an open mind, but you make no sense.

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    6. First off let me say TANF benefits are NOT food stamps, housing vouchers or Obama phone credits. All funds saved will go back into the program to provide benefits to someone who can not get them now.

      Special needs or learning disabled are exempt from this bill.

      I am not re inventing the wheel. This is already being done in over 40 countries with positive results every where it is in place. Look it up.

      Here is a quote from the article linked below.

      "Most of our Fixes columns so far have been about successful-but-small ideas. They face a common challenge: how to make them work on a bigger scale. This one is different. Brazil is employing a version of an idea now in use in some 40 countries around the globe, one already successful on a staggeringly enormous scale. This is likely the most important government anti-poverty program the world has ever seen. It is worth looking at how it works, and why it has been able to help so many people."

      Here is the link for more. http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/...

      Sen. Stacey Campfield

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    7. You do know the "Obama phone credits" were started by Ronald Reagan, right?

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    8. B.F. Skinner should be turning over in his grave about now. Positive reinforcement should be used for operant conditioning. Negative reinforcement is less powerful than positive reinforcement and should be used merely to gain attention if all other methods fail.

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  11. Some people need to read these before commenting.

    http://lastcar.blogspot.com/2011/04/rules-for-comments.html?m=1

    ReplyDelete
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    1. So you have a beef with people exercising the First Amendment, then?

      Cowering behind rules because people tell you things that you don't want to hear is despotism. Which is fine, but I doubt you'll reflect on the irony of it later in life.

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    2. It's his private blog. He's welcome to ask people to be polite and to take down comments that he doesn't feel add to the discussion. Your first amendment rights to free speech do not necessarily extend into someone else' private sphere. You're more than welcome to post your own blog rebuttal of any points brought up in this discussion. I think the least that anyone can ask, senator or not, is that the people who desire to participate in a forum he set up behave themselves in a manner appropriate to a public space.

      This is democracy in action and it works best when we state our ideas without insults. Let's try to be polite while we're disagreeing.

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    3. sure. post any ignorant and incendiary thing you want (FIRST AMENDMENT!), and if someone calls you on it, you can cry "privacy." so classy.

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  12. The parent receives the benefit to support the child. Therefore you are punishing the child. Please explain your reaaoning on how it wouldn't negatively impact the child.

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    1. In the end, I bet there are as many "starving, beaten children left shivering in the street" from my bill as there are "children arrested for holding hands" that we were supposed to get from changing the sex education standards last year.

      My bill will be revenue neutral. Any money taken from one parent will only be given to another deserving parent who is not getting it now.

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    2. If there are already even one " deserving parent who is not getting it now " (your words) why not increase funding instead?

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  13. I presume these families are already having a hard time making ends meet. If a child is having a hard time keeping up because of poor access to food, poor access to computers, poor access to transportation to get to school, how does giving them less access to these things (which cost $$) help the situation?

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    1. TANF is not food stamps. In the end, I bet there are as many "starving, beaten children left shivering in the street" from my bill as there are "children arrested for holding hands" that we were supposed to get from changing the sex education standards last year.

      My bill will be revenue neutral. Any money taken from one parent will only be given to another deserving parent who is not getting it now.

      Delete
  14. I can think of a couple:

    Not continuing to punish the students that have to endure being in class with students who have no desire to work/learn - since we insist on maintaining a compulsory education law and forcing those who would otherwise be "truant" into the classroom.


    Not continuing to punish the property-owning neighbors, who are forced to pay for "free public school" at the threat of a tax lien on their house, for those same students that don't work/learn.

    The state average $9,123 per student their neighbors are paying for their child is a benefit too. It isn't "free".

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    1. Gee... you mean that "free" education is also a form of welfare? Wow, wonder why they didn't teach us that in the 10th plank public schools?

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  15. I dont know if the teachers/administrators would want to be the ones reporting to the state, knowing that what they say will potentially remove assistance from the family of their students. It could make for a very toxic atmosphere at the school, if the family of a third grader held the teacher of their child responsible for losing benefits. I suspect this would backfire, in the long run, as parents began to see teachers as a threat.

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    1. Parents already see teachers as a threat. Teachers for the most part see parents the same way. The school system tells parents "we can handle your kids. Trust us." and then blames parents when the children fail to thrive and takes credit when they do well. Parents blame the school. No one communicates. The kids lose out.

      It's bad enough that we have legislated teachers to within an inch of their lives and set up curricula that teach nothing but rote learning and test-taking skills, and then turn around and wonder why our colleges are implementing remedial English classes for freshmen. Do we now have to punish parents for both the failures of the school system to provide a good environment for kids, and the failures of our community to provide support for needy families?

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    2. We are already holding them to a higher standard that is based on a child's performance.

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    3. Teachers do not see parents as a threat. We see parents who do not come to conferences, do not make their child do homework, do not help discipline the child for acting to the detriment of the child and the entire class. There are a few students in every class who only want to cause problems and take time from the rest of the class. The teacher is then held accountable for this on a single test at the end of the year. How would you like your job to be based on forcing people who do not want to be there to pass a test they do not want to take?

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  16. I can't believe my eyes...families that are desperate in this economy and are now being threatened by saying their benefits can be cut...our country is becoming communist!!!

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    1. Communist? You mean because the government isn't providing? You need to look up the definition of communism. Read the 10th plank of the communist manifesto.

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    2. I believe Angela might be referring to the level of poverty and desperation that people in communist countries have experienced. She means "like a communist country" in the sense that people are hungry and desperate. She does not mean "communist" in the sense of attempting to fulfill communist political ideals. It would have sounded better if she said something like, "What are we? North Korea? How can we do this to our citizens? We can't take away basic aide from people who are struggling to survive because we're better than that." Something like that would have conveyed the sentiment I think she was going for.

      I could be wrong, but given the context of disapproval for this bill and what it stands for, I don't think she meant that she's against the government helping the poor.

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    3. I believe Angela might be referring to the level of poverty and desperation that people in communist countries have experienced. She means "like a communist country" in the sense that people are hungry and desperate. She does not mean "communist" in the sense of attempting to fulfill communist political ideals. It would have sounded better if she said something like, "What are we? North Korea? How can we do this to our citizens? We can't take away basic aide from people who are struggling to survive because we're better than that." Something like that would have conveyed the sentiment I think she was going for.

      I could be wrong, but given the context of disapproval for this bill and what it stands for, I don't think she meant that she's against the government helping the poor.

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    4. I don't think she means that she believes this country is actually starting to "become" communist. I think she meant that would lead to the kind of desperation and hunger common to people in "communist" countries. Like communist countries, not becoming communist. It would have been less confusing if she said something like, "What are we, North Korea? The USSR? How can we take away basic aide to the poorest families in America? How can we let something like that happen here?"

      I could be wrong, but given the context that she opposes this bill, that's what makes the most sense.

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    5. Having poor families doesn't mean your country is becoming communist. Having a country that "provides" from cradle to grave does.

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    6. tngal, no, that's not what makes a country communist, either.

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  17. TANF is a federally funded block grant. Families receiving TANF are required to work 30+ hours per week (single parent homes) in order to continue receiving assistance. Failure to work the alloted time results in sanctions - even if a parent could not work because of illness with medical intervention. For TN, the average TANF check for a family of 3, is $185.00 (July 2011). How much are you looking to save? And at what cost?

    "Federal policy does not require states to assess the wellbeing of TANF recipient families or
    of the families who are sanctioned off TANF. Studies that examine the wellbeing of TANF
    recipients consistently find high rates of hardship with respect to basic needs such as housing,
    food, utilities, and medical care.
    65
    Studies also consistently find high hardship rates with respect
    to basic needs among sanctioned families. The studies that report hardship rates for both
    sanctioned and non-sanctioned families consistently report higher rates for sanctioned families. "
    http://www.cbpp.org/files/8-7-12tanf-factsheets/8-7-12tanf-TN.pdf

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  18. There is some link of logic I am not following here. Doesn't this create a situation in which the child is essentially responsible, in part, for financially supporting their family? Doesn't that put incredible pressure on children in grade school?

    "The parent receives the benefit. Not the child". Senator, you are part of a complex governmental system in which benefits/money are/is passed down through layers. How then can you say that? If the parents don't have money for food, than neither does the child. If the money the family is receiving is dependent on the actions of the child, then that child will be responsible for supporting the parents. Is that really something you are willing to support?

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    1. " Doesn't that put incredible pressure on children in grade school? "

      That's the point!!! Currently there IS no pressure from their parent for them to succeed.

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    2. Women on welfare are supposed to be looking for employment or training for employment. They seldom lack the skills to help their child excell. They could be accountable for excessive absences of a child, but with a payment reduction? That would only make the performance of the child worse. Which is more important: finding a way to help children living in poverty succeed in school or making sure that parents are punished when they don't? Punishing parents makes the child's circumstance worse. You have to choose.

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  19. I think I have a better idea that you would have a better chance of getting the desired result: Increase the money for food for students who get really good grades. Increase the money for food if their attendance is good: they can stay home when they have the flu but not for playing hooky.

    "Reward what you want to see more of" works better than punishment and is more likely to be equitable.

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    1. Really? We want to start a system where the amount of food your family gets is dependent on the elementary student's grades?? That's a little barbaric, can you imagine the pressure that child would feel? As a teacher I can tell you the way to get students to show up and learn is not threatening to take away their food.

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    2. Right, if some way could be found to reward positive behavior in young people, other than their obvious ability to get a good job and be successful, because they finished school, this would be good. Of course, in good homes, the parents know to give positive reinforcement to their children for good grades and good attendance.

      I remember, years ago, I heard that Dolly Parton was giving a good-sized chunk of money to every student who graduated high school in Sevier County, and I heard that was quite successful. But I guess that would cost the state too much money.

      Reward what you want to see more of." Sounds like a professor I had for a behavior modification class at U.T. He repeated this concept, in what must have been a hundred different ways, in the course of one semester.
      Reward the good behavior, ignore the bad!

      How Senator Campfield and other members of the Senate Education Committee, seeking to help young people stay in school, can apply this valuable principle, I don't really know. It is good that so many people are trying to help.

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    3. TANF is not food stamps, the reward is the TANF funds.

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  20. This is just poorly thought out, Senator. Yes, we need to get parents more involved with their children's education, but this is not the way to do it.

    The problem is, the school have done a marvelous job in convincing parents that the schools know best when it comes to raising kids ... from what they learn, to what they eat. So when parents are tasked with some responsibility, they're like, "Wait. What? I thought you schools said you had this and you don't need the parents!"

    Many parents view schools as nothing more than daycares where they can park their little darlings while they do their own thing during the day ... whether that be keeping up with their soap operas or pursuing their career. There is little to no involvement with the schools, and when parents try, they are smacked down if they get in the way of the school's agenda.

    Get rid of compulsory education laws. But with caveats .... no welfare or food stamps if one has dropped out of school in the absence of work-limiting disability. Go back to school and get a diploma if one needs welfare. Provide some incentives for those who do go to school, make an effort and graduate.

    Bring back the efforts to enact a voucher system, where parents can choose to direct their tax dollars to private schools or homeschooling. Put some effort into combating the bullying problem - this is a big reason kids do poorly in school. Get rid of zero tolerance policies - make the school authorities use good sense in figuring out that a 6 year old pointing their finger and saying "Pow!" is not a terrorist.

    You can't legislate people into being good parents by threatening to punish them if their kids do poorly in school. Remove the barriers preventing kids from succeeding, and give them help to do so. Encourage parents to become involved, even if it means incentives of some sort. Think these things through .... people don't respond to threats. They really don't.

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    Replies
    1. The TANF benefit is the reward. One step at a time.

      Delete
  21. A concerned Tennessee parentJanuary 25, 2013 at 5:59 PM

    There's an old saying that goes "You catch more flies with honey than with vinegar." Just something to think about.

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    1. This is very valuable positive thinking, along with Mr. Martin's suggestion that we reward what we want to see more of. If we could combine these thoughts with LissaKay's suggestions that we make schools more welcoming, by trying to get rid of bullying and being more tolerant of young children, maybe we could begin to encourage children to stay in school.

      It's been a long time since I was in school. I wonder, do teachers still know to give little rewards, however small, to children - just for finishing some assignment? I remember things like tiny gold stars as rewards, which just absolutely made my day!

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  22. What happens if they have 4 children and 3 of them are honor roll students,there every day but there is that one little guy might have a problem,can't focus on his school work,leaves the house acting like he is going to school but doesn't make it.Parents both work mimimum wage jobs but still can't make ends meet.School doesn't let the parents know what's going on until too late.Do we just take the food away from the "bad" one so the good ones can eat and close his room off so the rest of the house can be warmer?Really one shower a week is all he needs.

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    1. TANF is not food stamps.In the end, I bet there are as many "starving, beaten children left shivering in the street" from my bill as there are "children arrested for holding hands" that we were supposed to get from changing the sex education standards last year.

      My bill will be revenue neutral. Any money taken from one parent will only be given to another deserving parent who is not getting it now.

      Delete
  23. So you intend to reduce/remove the benefit for any child not reaching... exactly what minimum standard would you suggest? And would that standard be the same across the state? The area (ie poor urban, suburban, rural etc)? Each school having a different standard?

    And exactly how do you propose to avoid punishing pupils with genuine learning difficulties, remembering that twenty years ago dyslexia was "A possible condition", and dyscalculia is still not fully accepted, let alone understood.

    Whilst I am sure you mean well, I must state that from what I have read here, until you are willing/able to provide these details your proposed law is not even half baked.

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  24. TANF already has a rule in place to make parents keep their children in school according to the website https://www.tn.gov/humanserv/adfam/afs_tanf.html. Why do we need additional laws to enforce school attendance?

    Tom Cogburn

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  25. The premise here is that parents aren't supporting/helping their child in terms of education because they are lazy and need some "motivation" (taking away support is punitive).... when the real reasons that parents who are struggling to make ends meet aren't as involved in their kid's education is because they are working 2-3 jobs (min wage usually) to try to buy food, pay rent, and make the bills. In addition, if they had a poor education themselves, they may themselves be deficient in the skills to help their kids with homework. Maybe you should spend your time working on legislation to increase minimum wage, or working on developing career services to help parents find better paying jobs (workforce development), or setting up after school programs with tutoring services. In order for people to excel in school, their basic needs have to be met...and the level of stress of just making it from day to day has to be lowered. This legislation is clearly not going to improve the ability of parents to meet the basic needs of their children, and its definitely going to make it more stressful for the child and the parent. Shame on you.

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  26. I've had the privilege of working in a K-8 school with "high" parental involvement. But parental involvement was looked different for each family...getting their students in school, on time, well fed and with homework completed was championed as involvement just as the in-classroom volunteer or P.T.A. chair. It was a community that valued each family. And students still struggled academically at times. You are correct; too little support from parents negatively impacts student performance but there are other ways to approach the problem. I hope you reconsider or at least get some help in creating an approach that breaks the cycle of poverty AND acknowledges the humanity of those trapped in that cycle.

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    1. If you can think of a suggestion that will not kill the bill by adding cost I am welcome to do an amendment to my bill.

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  27. What about children from financially sound homes whose parents are too busy, too tired, or just happen to lack parenting skills but not money...What type of "pressure" will be applied to them? I venture to say that this example is less common than the relationship between poverty and educational success. But, in theory, if you are going to hold one type of the most-important "third leg" accountable, then you must hold all of them, poor, middle-class, and wealthy accountable. The problem is that the joining of an egg and a sperm do not instantly give the "donors" parenting skills, no matter the socio-economic status...

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  28. My (conservative) cousin's very liberal wife dislikes this. Oh, yeah, she is a teacher in training. I'd like this bill for that reason only.

    However, it is a good start to reduction of entitlements, so it is a quality bill in my mind.

    To argue against the concept of this bill is to reward poor behavior and say that you wish to enslave people into cycles of poverty.

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  29. So "Sen", you are asking the child to be partially responsible for supporting the family??? Have you actually read the requirements to receive Families First? There are so many things wrong with what you are proposing here I don't know where to begin. Please rethink this and study a little more on the subject before you make fools of us all. I have worked for this state with our children. I have been in the homes and schools talking with our children. There are many, many ways to improve matters, but this just isn't one.

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    1. In the end, I bet there are as many "starving, beaten children left shivering in the street" from my bill as there are "children arrested for holding hands" that we were supposed to get from changing the sex education standards last year.

      My bill will be revenue neutral. Any money taken from one parent will only be given to another deserving parent who is not getting it now.

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  30. So if you're wealthy it's okay to miss/fail classes?

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    1. The Senator needs to answer this! Not only will the voters be interested but I am sure the ACLU will be too. Families that are fortunate to have even a little higher monetary situation will not have the same penalties as a family receiving TANF benefits? They to fail school, some hardly go, and some drop out. What is the plan to keep them in school? What are their ramifications? This sounds like discrimination to me. This will be across the board for all students, correct? Kids have enough stress in school today and you want to make it harder on the less fortunate children. You have taken aim at the weakest of all citizens- children, and they can't vote! But their parents can.

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    2. I am open to an amendment that will make the bill better reduce generational poverty and not kill the bill by adding any costs

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    3. Senator, that is NOT an answer.

      Delete
  31. The important thing here is to observe how hard Senator Campfield and other members of the Tennessee State Senate Education Committee are working to try to find ways to encourage young people to stay in school.

    He is deeply devoted to his work on the Education Committee, as evidenced by his work with this group in the past! If we truly care about people and about children in our state staying in school and doing well in school, we need to be supportive of him and other members of this committee and to share with them any ideas we may have, on how this can be accomplished!

    ReplyDelete
  32. Here's the thing: conditional programming like that which exists in other countries also requires infrastructure - clinics, check-ins, etc that our government is currently too cash-strapped and undermotivated to provide and that our private service providers often won't or can't provide to poor communities. We aren't providing the necessary support for parents to help them keep their kids in school in the first place. How many child care programs can you name that are available to single moms on TANF so that they can participate in the already-legislated mandatory training and not have to drop their three-year-old in the arms of their ten-year-old? How many parenting classes are offered? What are the attendance rates? Are we giving TANF families in-home visits and cooking and nutrition classes to teach them how to nourish themselves on a tight budget or are we letting them spend their food allotment on Pop-Tarts? How are we enforcing the current commitments the TANF legislation set up? What are the 'exceptions' for a 30-hour work week for recipients and can we tighten those up or vary them to help parents succeed and in turn help the kids - 15-20 hour weeks for single parents or 2 parents each working part time? Counting homemaking as part of of a work week if a parent has no partner to help with maintaining the state of the home - but only if in-home visitation concludes that the home has been maintained to a certain standard?

    We are, at least in my state, failing poor parents already. Now you're proposing that on top of failing the parents we fail the kids by pulling the assistance that feeds them. Malnourished children aren't going to do any better in school and aren't going to break that cycle of poverty all by themselves. I agree that we shouldn't be supporting people who can't or won't help themselves but TANF already has conditions embedded that pull support in those conditions. If you're going to legislate TANF assistance further you should at least add provisions to your bill that allow for spending the pulled funds (and a whole lot more) on better education and support for the people who ARE trying. Speaking as someone who's received TANF funding - it wasn't easy to get and they dropped it very quickly as soon as we moved out of the eligible income range. The requirements were difficult enough for a childless couple. I can't imagine having to shepherd a child through all of them, especially if that child has a learning disorder (and in many cases poor children go undiagnosed for much longer than their middle-class peers) or has little support at home (since poor parents tend to be less educated as well, they may not offer the same support with homework etc despite their best efforts. Should we punish them for good intentions or support them with after-school help?).

    This bill needs a LOT more dialogue before I'd even consider it a reasonable approach. Have you asked the families receiving TANF what their opinion is? They're people too, you know, and having a stake in their own futures might be good for them.

    ReplyDelete
  33. Will children perform better in school with less food in their system? I have been teaching early childhood education for 20 years and a simple measure to get higher performance out of all students is to make sure they are well feed with highly nutritious food. People living at or below poverty levels should not be subject to have to bargin for food and money for appropriate clothing and money for heat & water. The public school system is designed to be equal opportunity, equal access to education. We cannot make laws that punish poor children for failing grades but do not punish middleclass and upperclass families.As a teacher I can tell you that children of all income brackets are vulnerable to struggling academically. Furthermore most states have programs designed to curb truancy and to support struggling students. Let us not get it into our heads that in this economy that it is only families in a generational cycle of poverty that have been forced to utilize food stamps, welfare or subsidized housing in order to stabilize their families.Yesterday I purchased winter gear for a student who was dressed for spring in 10 degree temp. If we take away funds for families with struggling students the children's needs will go further unmet. This law will not promote performance, I am sure of that.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. TANF is not food stamps. In the end, I bet there are as many "starving, beaten children left shivering in the street" from my bill as there are "children arrested for holding hands" that we were supposed to get from changing the sex education standards last year.

      My bill will be revenue neutral. Any money taken from one parent will only be given to another deserving parent who is not getting it now.

      Delete
    2. I'm afraid your bill will increase the likelihood that poorly performing children will become the focus of parent's rage when their benefits are cut.

      Physical and verbal abuse are already associated with poor report cards.

      If you tie a family's income to the child's performance, you'll be setting up another reason for parents to become unhinged if their child performs poorly.

      I don't think the risk of increased abuse is worth the bill you're proposing.

      Delete
    3. An abuser will abuse. Rich or poor.

      Delete
    4. So let's just stand idly by and give them another reason.

      Delete
  34. Stacey...

    There is a phenomenon called "Report Card Reflex" that educators and anti-child abuse advocates have been discussing for years.

    Basically, "Report Card Reflex" is when a parent reacts with physical or verbal abuse when a child brings home a poor or failing report card.

    Can you imagine what will happen when a child's report card will be linked to a family's TANF benefits?

    Just think what an already over-stressed parent will do to their child when a failing report card is brought in. Less money means more stress.

    And if the parent (even wrongly) believes their child is responsible for reducing their benefits, I think that kids will be at even a greater risk of abuse.

    From every angle I look at this proposal, I just keep finding flaws.

    Tom Cogburn

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    Replies
    1. Tom, that's a shocking comment coming from a supposed social services provider that the victim of abuse is the cause of abuse. With that line of reasoning I am sure you think a child victim of rape was asking for it by the way they dress.

      Delete
    2. Where in his comment did Mr. Cogbum say that he felt the victim of abuse is the cause of abuse?

      Delete
  35. You are completely twisting the point of, and intentionally misleading your readers about, the article you site (http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/01/03/to-beat-back-poverty-pay-the-poor/). Those nations are not penalizing the poor for not having children in school, they are (1) supporting them at their regular subsistence level of benefits because of their low income AND (2) INCREASING their support if those receiving support meet certain standards. What you propose is to DECREASE support if certain standards are not met. Shame on you for your total lack of Christian Charity and for being patently disingenuous.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Stacey Campfield Some of you seem to be under the misaasumption that TANF benefits are an entitlement. They are not. They are something given out that the state has the ability to set standards to recieve. Saying you must hit an absolute minimum to recieve them is not a punishment. If there is a standard (as there always has been) means it is a reward for achievement. Currently someone is reward for applying for a job or going to job training. This changes the standard for the reward. I know some people think giving fish out forever will break the cycle of poverty. I do not. I think education has that ability. it is clear the free fish system is not working or at least isnt working well enough to break generational poverty. Some families are in their third or fourth generation of living in the system. To my knowledge, none have died from a lack of food. If anything their population has grown. It is getting to where a significant percent of our population is turning in to where the only skill they have to survive is to have government provide for their needs. This has to stop. Generational poverty has to stop. you may not like my plan but feel free to check the link. tying the reward to educational performance has spectacular results in hitting this goal. Is it perfect? no. will it work for 100% of the population? probably not. but it is clearly better then what we are doing now for getting people out of poverty. if you dont like it thats ok. I am open to your cost free alternatives that can fix the problems we are having.

      Delete
  36. The Families First program emphasizes work, training, and personal responsibility. To be eligible for the program, participants must agree to follow a Personal Responsibility Plan (PRP). As part of the PRP, the participant agrees to keep immunizations and health checks up to date for their children, keep their children in school, co-operate with Child Support Services to establish paternity, and participate in a work/training program for at least 30 hours per week.

    Unless a participant is exempt from the 30-hour work requirement, he/she will develop, with the assistance of a work activity contractor, an individualized career plan (ICP). This plan is based on the participant’s needs and skills. The ultimate goal of the ICP is to provide a work and training guide that will result in financial independence for the family.

    I really don't see any logic in attacking this program. The people on this program already have many rules to follow including attendance of child at school which you point out as a problem. This is a temporary program designed to get people back on their feet to care for themselves after hardships,etc so why go after a program which already has guidelines for their children they must follow & that is temporary, not like some of the longer term programs. This program is already designed to break the cycle of poverty as you saw. The bill really just seems like a waste, a pr stunt, or pure lack of knowledge of TANF.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It does nothing to keep a parent involved in a child's education.

      Delete
  37. Also, some of my laziest students were my well-off students, who thought they could fail classes and do no work and they would just get their daddy to come tell me off and that would fix it. Or their parents would take them off on a lavish vacation the week of state testing. Would you like to punish those families?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have no problem with an amendment that will help cut generational poverty and will not kill the bill by adding any additional cost.

      Delete
    2. Again, your answer is irrelevant. This person isn't asking about generational poverty, this person is asking about what you plan to do about students who live above the poverty line and do poorly in school. If they aren't on the reduced lunch program, what are the repercussions of their poor performance?

      Delete
  38. "If you can't feed 'em, don't breed 'em" ~ Jesus.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "I didn't say half of the things people say I did"-Jesus

      Delete
    2. "I didn't say half of the things people say I did." - Jesus

      Delete
  39. In regards to your repeated "TANF is not food stamps" comments, please stop! I received food stamps and some other emergency cash assistance from our county (not TANF) in the mid 1980s. Although I can't attest to the situation now, nor any individual family's situation (nor can you) - please take note of my experience because I HAVE been there. We had zero income due to temporary disability and no savings due to being young people who had just "blown" it all on a down payment on our first home and so we went through what little was left in just a few weeks. Food stamps did not cover our food costs! We had to eat cheap, and not always the best quality food.
    Saying reductions in TANF isn't taking food out of the mouths of children is unsubstantiated. In my experience, that statement is false.
    Accountability for public assistance is a fine idea - I agree with you there. I cannot support putting the responsibility on children, nor can I agree with taking benefits away from children.

    ReplyDelete
  40. Some people need to read these before commenting.

    http://lastcar.blogspot.com/2011/04/rules-for-comments.html?m=1

    If you are coming on to say my bill will make little children starve even though it has NO IMPACT on food stamps, WIC, SNAP or school lunches save it. It isn't going up.

    ReplyDelete
  41. Generational poverty exists here because for decades, the government has allowed it to exist. We have money in the hills. We've always had money - more than enough to pay for everything we need and then some. But, we can't touch it. It belongs to another. The government allows that money to be taken out on trains daily, out of the region, where the vast majority of it doesn't benefit us or our economies. Our towns are dying, our schools and hospitals underfunded and our working people are usually sick from coal dust and disabled by the time they hit middle age. Mudslides occur, towns get washed off the map from increased flooding and no matter how big the mine is or how much blasting they've done, it's all an "act of god" to the government. Lose all you've ever worked for? It's gone, there's no responsibility and insurance won't even cover the damages. Back to square one, back to poverty once again...

    Hope? There is none.

    Then, the government comes in, throwing money at the symptoms. Food stamps, TANF, HUD, etc., are fine if a minority of people are on them; however, when you live in a place like I do where the town is literally surviving off of these programs, they have a negative effect for anyone who doesn't qualify. Rent skyrockets, food and other items go up and energy bills are insane when heating assistance programs go on (and curiously drop once the funds run out.) In other words, anyone who is in the position to benefit from government assistance does so, because the government will pay it. This is leading people like me and my family, who can't get assistance, to suffer greatly. We struggle to pay bills and eat, and it's our reward for working. Even if someone is on assistance and they get a minimum wage job, they're cut off. They can't get ahead, they struggle and end up quitting their job because hey, they can live better with the government supplying the food and rent.

    The government could fix this, but you don't. And you won't, because now you want to punish our children - the ones who need to be lifted up the most and given hope that they can one day get out of this mess - if they don't pull their own weight. You may think you're putting stress on the parents to be involved in their children's education, but you're putting stress on the children themselves. These are the kids who, unlike elsewhere, will surpass their parents in school - they will likely not be able to get help with homework by the time they go to high school and are less likely to be able to afford private tutoring. You will strip them of their self-esteem and put thoughts in their head from an early age that they are a failure, that they let down their families and will never amount to nothing in this world.

    But please, go ahead and treat another symptom. It's not like anyone around here is going anywhere... ever.

    ReplyDelete
  42. You ask for an alternative... How about this... How about if instead of cutting off TANF assistance to parents who are not sending their kids to school, you create a system where families are rewarded for sending their kids to school.

    If a child has a 50% attendance record, give parents a warning that their TANF assistance will be interrupted until their child's attendance increases.

    If a child has a 75% to 80% attendance record, give parents additional TANF benefits. The extra money could come from those parents whose children fail to meet the attendance requirements associated with TANF.

    If a child has an 80% to 100% attendance record, increase their benefits further. Again, the extra money could come from those parents who are not meeting standards.

    But for goodness sake, do not tie TANF to report cards. There are too many other variables that impact a child's performance other than attendance.
    -A child may have an undiagnosed learning disability
    -A child may have an undiagnosed developmental disability
    -There may be a sick (mental/physical) parent in the home
    -The child may live in a chaotic/crime ridden community
    -The child may not have access to computers or other items needed to compete with classmates
    -There may be drugs/alcohol in the child's home

    All of these variables are outside of the child's and, in some cases, the parent's control.

    I think what most people are telling you is that punishments do not work.

    You need to provide incentives--not threats--to get parental involvement when there has not been any in the past.

    Tom C.

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    Replies
    1. Tom if you are so concerned about these starving children who skip school, why don't you go talk to the parents about why their kids are missing school and help their parents get jobs. Why must you steal from your neighbors to pay for what you think is a good idea?

      If government exist to steal from people to do what people think are good ideas, then I want some of your money to send you to a non-government school that teaches that stealing is wrong. The problem is that I don't believe in stealing like you, so I can't send you to the take responsibility for yourself reeducation camp.

      Delete
    2. tngal, is it your contention that people are primarily unemployed because they are lazy and not because there are very few jobs available these days?

      Delete
    3. Wow! You think that based on what I said I'm advocating theft from the government?

      I think each of us have disagreements about how the government spends tax money.

      I would rather see less spent on defense and more spent on social issues.

      You might not agree with me, but I don't think I would accuse you of advocating "theft".

      And regarding why it is that kids miss school, there are hundreds (thousands?) of professionals--including lawmakers--who are trying to figure out how to reduce this problem.

      I have ideas. That's why I share them here with Sen. Campfield.

      Tom Cogburn,
      Knoxville

      Delete
  43. This bill perpetuates the myths of poverty.
    1. No one goes hungry in America. The fact is that among the food insecure are 17 million children. (U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, 2012)
    2. People who are poor are lazy. The facts are that over 10.5 million people formed the working poor in 2010. They were in the labor force for at least 27 weeks. (U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2012)
    3. The U.S. spends an inordinate amount on social programs. The fact is that out of 30 developing countries, the U.S. spends less than 26 of them. We only spend more than Turkey, Mexico, and Korea.
    4. Welfare encourages women to have more children. Fact is there has been NO correlation found between the level of welfare benefits to parents and the number of children they have.
    5. Poor parents are uninvolved in their children's learning, largely because they do not value education. The facts are that low-income level parents want to be more involved but they lack transportation to schools, are working 2 or more low income jobs just to make ends meet, or have jobs with no paid leave. The problem is that they lack access to school involvement, where as their wealthier peers do not have these problems.
    As a retired teacher, who taught in TN, I believe that you need to explore these myths of poverty. It's time to debunk the cultural myths that have stereotyped, hobbled, and humiliated our nation's poor. I am ashamed of this bill.

    ReplyDelete
  44. This communication is in regards to the legislation to tie welfare benefits to children’s academic grades. As a parent and an educator, I strongly oppose the legislation. There are two items of information that I will share here. My oldest child was an A student. When went to the parent/teacher conference of my second child, her teacher told me “never compare her to her sister. She tries as hard as she can, but she will never be an A student.” The second is my own personal experience. When in college, most came fairly easy for me except as few subjects, and no matter how hard I tried, I never understood, never could catch on.
    Grades are not the sole product of parental involvement. People have differing abilities, various talents, and they fact that they do not excel academically does not mean they are disabled in our or less smart, or that their parents do not help them with their studies. As an Associate Professor at Roane State Community College, I recognize that every student cannot succeed at being s nurse, or computer programmer, but they can succeed with other career paths.
    Grades, however, are affected by lack of food, heat, shelter and medical care. Many children in TN depend on school meals for their nutrition, and go home to no adequate food until they return to school.
    Judging parental involvement by grades is an invalid measure. Cutting the very benefits many of our children depend on is disgraceful, un-Christian, and an embarrassment to you for voicing it. Shame on you.
    Pat Wurth
    Associate Professor
    Roane State Community College

    ReplyDelete
  45. As a Tennessee tax-payer, I feel I should ask: how wil this effect families under TANF whose children have documented intellectual disabilities?

    Also, with homes where both parents (or in a single parent household) where the parents might not be able to help their students academically (maybe they did poorly in school or have their own intellectual disabilities) how will the help be provided for these students to raise their grades?

    I believe there are a lot of issues with this bill that you may not have thought out, that need to be addressed.

    ReplyDelete
  46. I work with families in crisis...and myself just went through the experience of realizing that my own son had subtle learning disabilities. For his 3 years of public schooling he was held in from recess (pushed to do more work, vs. someone noticing that he had a problem...further exacerbating the problem & taking away his only pleasure of the day. After some time he just hated school), and he became extremely resistant to doing homework and attending school. I am well educated, with a fairly strong community of resources. I know that families with more challenges such as a history of abuse, drug addiction/domestic violence, illness, etc, have a hard enough time just getting through the day. There is just not the energy to deal with a difficult child or be in a state of health to even be able to provide that encouragement or support. Add in the fact that many children have disabilities that go unnoticed- I am very concerned that putting more pressure & stress on families will result in more child abuse (and less progress). Please take some time to look at all aspects of the situation and look towards GIVING more resources to parents, rather than taking them away.

    ReplyDelete
  47. #1 The NYTimes article you referenced is about incentives, not disincentives. Rewards, not punishment.

    #2 If the desired outcome is a strong, useful stool (an educated child), how would cutting away at the third leg help? Damaging the third leg seems counterproductive.

    If the third leg started out weaker than the other two I would do everything in my power to strengthen it. That is, if I was genuinely interested in a strong, sturdy stool.

    If I didn't really care about the result --- a weak, wobbly stool, then I would use your plan. If it breaks I could just throw it away. Stupid stool.

    ReplyDelete
  48. Teachers do not see parents as a threat. What we see are parents who do not help the child do their homework, do not help their child get to school, do not help the teachers when their child needs discipline and will not encourage the child to be their best. The teacher's job is then based on a single test at the end of the year for a child who does not want to be there. A teacher can be rated as a poor teacher if only three students fail (depending on class size), but this is ok with the public.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Last I looked, I was responsible for my own grades. My parents don't now and did not go to school for me then either. Why should they honestly be held accountable for a child's grades. Obviously yes the kid needs help with his school work, or he might have different needs, but seriously, why financially responsible?

      Children learn things differently and in different methods. If you want to get parents to help, stop trying to give birth control to 6th graders, stop trying to raise the kid yourself. Let the parent actually parent.

      I remember seeing a picture, where it's a parent standing behind a teacher asking the kid why there were so many F's on his report card and the date 1960's on the other side it had a caption "Now" and it's the parents chewing out the teacher for the fact that the kid had a bunch of F's.

      So maybe instead of helping, they should I don't know, take away the kids iPod for X number of days for every number of F's or unsatisfactory grades on the report card. Instead of giving your kid a freaking "I'm entitled to that A teach" attitude then it might actually be a better outcome.

      I'm with you on the discipline part, and the getting the kid to do the homework in the first place and the getting to school, but how does a kid learn if you honestly give them all the answers o great and powerful know it all that is a parent? You want kids to think for themselves and learn, not sit there and answer everything for them. Let them struggle, and then be there when they ASK for help. I know way more parents who hover over their kid's homework and then expect their kids to learn something.

      How do you solve that problem? You know the over helpful parent? It may keep the grades up but does the kid learn to do anything but cheat the system?

      I agree with you Bayouman, but can you solve those problems for the senator being a teacher? Because I'm sure you see that affect on students too. I can see 2 sides of this coin.

      Delete
  49. Ok...so let me get this straight. While yes I understand that TANF is not food stamps, many families who are low income use the little they get from TANF to supply their kids with non food items. That is someone with food stamps only getting about 600 a month, is unable to buy things like toilet paper, napkins or "Non food stuffs" would take the $185 minimum average to pay for such things.

    Such no food items also includes School supplies. Last I checked a kid needs a notebook to take notes, do assignments, and respectfully, LEARN. IF said parent is unable to while on their once monthly trip to the Grocery store, is unable to purchase school supplies, wouldn't that have a negative affect on the student?

    Well you could solve this by having the state pay for the schools to be able to supply enough pens, pencils, paper, glue, crayons/color pencils/markers, scissors, etc that are standard on the elementary school "Supply" list, but then you are also taking away more public funding and state funds from buying things the school needs like Food for lunches, toilet paper for bathrooms, tissues, etc. Again wouldn't that also be harming the student? It would make state taxes and such higher to make up for the bigger draw the schools need to help needy children. There in lessening the income the family makes.

    As a student who went to school as a Low income or At risk family, It was more stressful to my being as a student because my family had little or no real income. We honestly relied on a box of turkey, stuffing, gravy, and cranberry sauce just for a Thanksgiving, given to us by a local church group. I have had many Toys-for-tots, Sally Army, and generally "good" people supplying Christmases for my family when we couldn't afford new socks. Do you think it will actually help?

    What about parents who would blame their child for the cause of their impoverish state? Do you know the emotional trauma it would cause the child if a father beat or harmed their kid because there's no food on the table? Because of funds getting cut to supply the schools which will again need to pick up the slack? While an extreme, it's also very common, especially with Latch0key children.

    Again having grown up on welfare, it was extremely stressful to go to school. Not to mention the bullying I received for hand-me-downs that were run ragged, or not having the right shoes. Children can be very vicious to other children. It's bad enough I got teased for glasses, which my parents could barely afford without the help of welfare, but to get teased because my backpack was my mother's old handbag. You don't think that bullying exists, I can tell you it does. And it does affect grades. It makes children not want to go to school.

    Not to mention the kids who do drop out, especially in higher grades, drop out to work full time to help their parents pay for food to put on the table...

    Well again I guess it can all be solved buy tax payers right? Taxes go up, less money to spend, and we're back in a vicious circle.

    Take this as truth or not, even just a hypothetical, but how is digging a pit going to solve the problem of being in a hole?

    ReplyDelete
  50. Senator Campfield. I think your heart might be in the right place. Certainly the purpose of this bill is extremely important - getting kids to succeed in school and getting their families involved in the process. You have asked for suggestions for improvement. I would suggest that you visit the Pond Gap Community Schools program in Knoxville. That program is doing an amazing job trying to develop this very outcome that you are seeking with your bill. This program is born out of a partnership between the schools, the community (churches and other organizations) and the University of Tennessee. It seems to me that if you talked with the people involved in this program, you might find new ideas about how to accomplish these really important goals you are trying to reach in your bill. I have to confess I've read your blog and received some mixed messages. On one hand, it seems you really see the necessity of tackling this problem and that makes me hopeful. However, your most recent posts makes it seem as if you like the publicity the bill is receiving more than trying to achieve its actual purpose. I really hope that last message is inaccurate, and that you can prove it wrong in your response to this comment.

    ReplyDelete
  51. I'm sorry, Campfield, but it's a copout to say (10,000 times) that TANF is not food stamps and leave it at that.

    TANF is a program that provides money for families to buy food. It is the functional modern equivalent of food stamps.

    You are also misrepresenting the article that you link to repeatedly. The examples in the article are of countries providing grants to students who complete high school. It's not about countries that threaten children who perform lower than others with starvation. That's how Saddam Hussein's sons motivated their national soccer team, and it didn't work for them, either.

    Please be honest about representing the material you link to, and what TANF is.

    ReplyDelete
  52. Children like Thomas Edison flunk out because their minds are different. You'd cut benefits to brilliant children like Edison? Grades are so very arbitrary in schools.

    Not to mention, have you seen the godawful curriculum they use nowadays? Even the math is full of political correctness and asking the student to deduce whether things are "fair" or not and to "describe" patterns and so forth.

    I homeschool. My child would be in fifth grade were he in public school and he has already passed high school-level Algebra I and Geometry. And yet were we among the less fortunate in your state, you'd want to ship him off on the first yellow bus running, presumably to bolster the miserable test scores of his public school peers.

    I haven't even addressed the miserable rot they call "literature" in public schools, but you get the idea. Just a travesty. We should all let the children be free and quit with the compulsory education bit already, and nevermind tying it to aid of any kind.

    ReplyDelete
  53. Senator,

    Too many children are diagnosed as learning disabled or given a medical diagnoses as a pass for poor behavior and attendance as it is. Excluding children who have learning disabilities would cause a huge increase of false diagnoses. Mention poor behavior to a parent, and many of them will blame it on a medical condition. Parents want their children diagnosed because it takes the blame away from their parenting skills and places it on pathology or physiology. It's a cop-out. There are genuine cases of things like ADD/ADHD, but too many of them should really be called "BRATITIS". So, your proposal would just add onto an existing problem of diagnosing poor behavior as a medical issue. Parents at risk of losing benefits would flood the pediatric office with sudden "worries" of learning disabilities.

    This problem is not class-specific. All parents, rich or poor, love to place the blame for bratty kids on medical issues rather than their own parenting skills. Here's a solution: Allow public schools to evict problem students. Not just relocate them into an alternative school where they can become someone else's problem, but kick them out. Tell the parents that when their little hellions can behave like civilized human beings, they can come back. Otherwise, good luck with their hellion and hope he/she has a good life. You would be doing the good children such an immense favor! Some of the worst children have perfect attendance because the parents can't wait to be rid of them for the day. Or, threaten to remove failing students from the home and place in foster homes or orphanages while parents undergo mandatory parenting classes. Parental stupidity and incompetence is the issue that creates students with poor behaviors and attitudes. How to alter parental stupidity and incompetence is the real question. Punishment doesn't fix stupidity or incompetence, but it can make it worse. Some type of parental intervention is what is required. It should begin with removing access to pharmaceuticals, not food. Too many children are deliberately diagnosed incorrectly because it gives the parents a cop-out and it is very profitable for Big Pharma. Take away parents narcotics and re-evaluate the children for "disabilities". That is where you should start. Don't take away their basic needs. "This boy is ignorance. This girl is want. Beware them both" - Charles Dickens.

    ReplyDelete

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